If a graduation mindset is the new retirement, and a commencement message the source of inspiration, then let’s consider the advice Amazon’s founder and CEO Jeff Bezos shared with graduating Princeton students:
“When you are 80 years old, and in a quiet moment of reflection narrating for only yourself the most personal version of your life, the telling that will be most compact and meaningful will be the series of choices you have made. In the end, we are our choices. Build yourself a great story.”
Let’s change Bezos’ message to: “When you are (current age)…” and then do what he suggests. Begin with reflecting on your life.
Next, write the most personal version of your life. This isn’t a version for Facebook or Instagram, where we tend to project a perfect life. It’s not your Christmas card annual letter. This version of your life is for your eyes only. It’s the real deal.
Now consider these questions:
Is the most compact and meaningful version a reflection of the choices I’ve made? List these choices.
What choices am I most proud of? What choices made a positive difference in my life?
Have I lived my life intentionally, or have I let life drift along, come as it may? When I’m 80 years old will I be happy with this story?
Are there choices I want to make now that will change the course of my story?
List these choices, and then write a specific plan to put these into action.
In the book When to Jump, contributing writer Maia Josebachvili reminds us to be open to edits in our life story. “The most meaningful outcomes happen after your first plans change….We’re only so creative and so imaginative—how can we possibly know what exciting choices we’ll have in front of us in three years? Seven years? New experiences open up your eyes to what the possibilities are.”
In other words, our lives will be more interesting as we intentionally make meaningful choices. Keep writing yourself a great story!
Copyright 2018. Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.